Apple's Piping Hot Innovation - Forbes.com
In an application with the U.S. Patent Office published on Dec. 20, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and gadget company described a wireless system that would allow customers to place an order at a store using a wireless device such as a media player, a wireless personal digital assistant or a cellphone.
The system could go far beyond the program that Apple announced with Starbucks in September, which allows iPhone users to press a button and wirelessly download the song playing in the background as they sip their soy lattes.
Apple's application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a process for placing an order and then notifying customers when an order is ready to grab at a pick-up station. One goal, the patent application notes, is to avoid an "annoying wait in a long queue if the purchaser arrives before completion of the order."